As painters we have 2 main roles we are responsible for on every job:
1. Putting paint onto areas that are supposed to be painted.
2. Keeping paint off of areas that are not supposed to be painted.
Almost everything we do from the time we set foot on a job until the time we leave, falls under one of these 2 categories.
Talking about our favorite tools for applying paint is always a hot topic, and rightly so. Usually because painters are loyal to their brands. But, also because application has a tangible impact on the bottom line and everyone wants to make as much money on a job as they can.
Keeping paint off of things, however, does not invoke nearly as much emotion.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading painting forums and groups. In that time I’ve witnessed self-proclaimed professionals bragging that they buy used bed sheets and towels from thrift stores to protect surfaces (of course no one reading this site would do that) and encouraging others to do the same because “it does the same thing as tarps”.
Beyond that I’ve seen tarps of different materials, masking film, red rosin paper (Don’t even get me started on this stuff. If a products intended use is to keep color off of a surface, I would prefer that it didn’t put a different color onto that surface while it does it), visqueen, Tyvek, roofing paper & shingles, cardboard and clearance fabric. That last one is not a joke and I’m probably forgetting a host of other weird options as well.
Disregarding how un-professional some of those are, that list encompasses most of the available options for as far back as I can remember.
The Times They Are A-Changin’
Up until a few years ago, the technology behind spill containment and surface protection has existed in quiet mediocrity- It did the job and very little time and very few resources were devoted to seeing if there were better options.
The remodeling market has been on an upswing. And with it I’ve noticed that some manufacturers are gaining the courage to bring products to market that they may not have in the past, and some of them are a wonderful surprise.
One of those surprises comes from Trimaco. In my opinion, they have been one of the most active companies in the last 2-3 years and when I was given the opportunity to try a new product for free, I was happy to oblige.
Their X-Board is different than anything else I have tried. It’s like red rosin paper on steroids but without the risk of turning things pink.
Trimaco describes it as:
“The lightweight, but tough alternative for surface protection. X•Board will last for the endurance of the job and features our innovative liquid repellent technology.” Source
Here’s Why This Product Is Important To You
During a recent cabinet refinishing project my team used X-Board to protect the tile floors, granite counter-tops, and the walkways through the carpeted living room and into the kitchen.
I can tell you that the walkways stood up to our foot traffic without ripping on the edges, that it didn’t allow the shellac to penetrate it, that it did a fantastic job of protecting the surfaces and that we didn’t put an additional layer of protection on top of it- Something we have never considered with red rosin paper.
There are a lot of products that can protect surfaces, but X-Board comes with one feature that you won’t find listed on the label- It puts the client at ease. That is a benefit that can rarely be bought; and is, in this case, worth more than the paper it’s printed on.
New clients typically have no idea what they’ve signed up for until the project has started. Showing them that the protection is done with care and thoughtfulness provides value in a way that I can’t describe (seriously, I’ve been rewriting this paragraph for an hour).
I think the best thing I can do is to tell you what the husband said to me when we were leaving that first day- “I can’t tell you how appreciative my wife is about the quality and the steps you’ve taken to protect our home.”
They expect you to keep paint off of their things.
Exceeding those expectations is up to you.